Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) made huge contributions to Mesopotamian culture and society, but the one that stands out and is most well known, is his code of 282 laws, written on a pillar in every city & towns temples. This code of laws tells us that the Mesopotamian society was divided into hierarchies as well as patriarchies. It demonstrates to us that the people had a common understanding of order and accepted obedience to their ruler. .
The Code of Hammurabi consisted of 282 laws that had been passed down orally, collected, written down, and posted on pillars in every city for all to see. Because of this last part, the code was considered just, and everyone was expected to know it. If you couldn't read, you had someone read it to you. However, just does not mean that the code was equal. Mesopotamian society was hierarchical in the following levels (in descending value): kings, nobles, commoners, and slaves. .
Contrary to the present day concept of slavery, in Mesopotamian society, slaves were simply prisoners of war. If your land lost a war, you served the victors. This demonstrates that the Mesopotamian people lived by rules of almost childlike simplistic fairness (i.e., 'if I win this game of go fish, then you have to do my chores'). Slavery was not based on the color of your skin, but simply on your ability to defend yourself in times of war.
Crimes were punished according to the class structure, and usually consisted of physical mutilation if committed in the same class. If your crime was on someone of lesser class than you, a monetary fine was usually the punishment. However, if you committed a crime involving someone of a higher class, your punishment was either physical mutilation, yet death was more common. Punishments were usually just, like the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" saying. With this type of punishment scale, I think that serious crimes were few and far between, because of the extremely harsh punishments.